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The Saints were able to get one step closer to playing at home for the playoffs Youth Jermon Bushrod Jersey , even if they were one step away from letting this one slip away"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections InterviewsNew Orleans Saints SatireWho Dat HistoryCanal Street Chronicles TutorialSaints vs Panthers: Week 15 quick observationsNew,13commentsThe Saints were able to get one step closer to playing at home for the playoffs, even if they were one step away from letting this one slip awayByDon KellumDec 18, 2018,9:50am CST@DonKellumShareTweetShareShareSaints vs Panthers: Week 15 quick observationsJim Dedmon-USA TODAY SportsThe Saints offense continues to look questionable as for the third week in a row they failed to get into the end zone in the first half. Much like the previous two games, it was all on the defense to keep this game close. They limited Cam Newton and the rest of the Panthers’ offense to only 9 points at home, where they normally average over 30 points. Here are some quick observations.The Drop ChroniclesI expected Tre’quan Smith to start filling the role Ted Ginn Jr. played in this offense, but not including Ginn’s knack for dropping passes early in his career. This is now the third week in a row that Smith dropped a crucial catch. It would have converted a third down in the third quarter. Starting a dropped-pass streak of his own, Dan Arnold dropped a dime from Brees that bounced off a defender’s helmet into the waiting arms of another defender. This is the second week in a row he had a drop that could have been a big gain.Smith at least showed good effort after the interception to chase down the ball carrier from the other side of the field. These drops can’t continue if the Saints expect to beat the tough defenses they’ll have to face to get to the Super Bowl. Teams like Chicago, Seattle, and Dallas all boast aggressive defenses and opportunistic offenses that can really give this team issues rather they’re playing at home or not. Hopefully Ginn will be able to return and help alleviate some of these issues. Or possibly the answer lies with newly acquired Simme Cobbs Jr. Whoever it is, someone needs to step up and help Thomas and Kamara in the passing game.The failed 2-pt conversionThe Panthers were able to steal the momentum right back form the Saints after they scored their first touchdown of the game. Brees throws an ill advised pass on a mesh concept that the Saints have gone to before.The mesh concept has two receivers lined up opposite ends of the formation that both run shallow drag routes towards each other, leaving little to no space between them as they cross each other. This is to create a natural rub and get one of the “crossers” open. In the play above, Watson and Thomas are the “crossers”, but the cornerback covering Thomas avoids the rub from Watson and sticks to the receiver. Donte Jackson is covering Kamara on his wheel route, who breaks off the stem near the goal line and presents himself to Brees. This allows Jackson to sit and watch Brees’s eyes. Jackson sees Brees’s pass coming and is able to jump in front of the pass for the pick. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY SportsShouldering the loadCam Newton has his issues with mechanics and accuracy, but on Monday night he looked even more off his game than normal. His shoulder is clearly still bothering him as he missed plenty of easy throws. The defense as a whole played very well, but were bailed out a couple times by Newton’s errant passes. As much disdain as the Saints fan base has for Newton, its hard to watch a player push his limits and possibly prolong the healing process. With the Panthers practically eliminated from the playoffs, we may not see him again in two weeks. Apple turnovers and peanut punchesThe defense has had no problem forcing turnovers the past few weeks, and added two more Monday night. The first turnover came via Eli Apple who prevented a scoring opportunity late in the first half.He nearly came down with an interception on a similar play last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneerswhen he was covering Chris Godwin. Using a trail technique Jermon Bushrod Jersey Stitched , Apple will get a quick jab on Funchess’s inside shoulder that helps push the receiver towards the boundary. Next, he does a good job at turning and getting underneath the receiver’s hip as he runs stride for stride with him.Apple then will then turn his head to look for the ball and picks off the under-thrown pass from Newton. Vonn Bell played lights out this game, and forced a turnover of his own. The Panthers run a reverse with rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore, who is able to navigate behind his blockers for nearly a 25 yard gain. Bell penetrates into the backfield, but the play is ran away from him and he is forced to chase Moore down from behind, where he times his own version of a “peanut-punch” perfectly and knocks the ball out. A.J. Klein recovers the fumble and gets the ball back for the offense. While the game was sloppier than the fans would want to see, the team still squeaked out the win and are now one step closer to sealing home-field advantage in the playoffs. A look at the most impactful football free agents of all time:1. DE Reggie White, 1993 Green Bay Packers.White stunned the NFL by choosing Green Bay after a whirlwind tour in the first offseason of unfettered free agency. His arrival at age 32 signaled a new era for the Packers, who hadn’t found much success since the Vince Lombardi teams of the 1960s. White teamed with Brett Favre for a long run of success that included a win over the Patriots in Super Bowl 31. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.2. QB Peyton Manning, 2012 Denver Broncos.Manning was coming off neck fusion surgery that sidelined him in 2011 when the Colts released him so they could turn their team over to rookie Andrew Luck. Despite the uncertainty over his health, Manning was courted by several teams and chose the Broncos. He set numerous passing records in Denver and led the Broncos to two Super Bowls, losing to the Seahawks in 2014 but beating the Panthers two years later in the final game of his storied career.3. QB Drew Brees, 2006 New Orleans Saints.Brees hit the open market at age 27 after he sustained a serious injury to his throwing shoulder in the 2005 season finale. The Chargers turned to Philip Rivers, whom they had acquired in a draft-day trade in 2004, and Brees became the rare young QB to get to test free agency. He chose New Orleans, which itself was making a comeback from Hurricane Katrina. The Saints won their only Super Bowl in 2010, over the Colts. Last season, Brees surpassed Favre for most career completions.4. DB Deion Sanders, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1995 Dallas Cowboys.After five seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Sanders went to San Francisco and helped the 49ers win the Super Bowl over the San Diego Chargers. Then he promptly left for Dallas in 1995 and helped lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Also a “prime time” kick returner Youth DeMario Davis Jersey , his stay in Dallas also included three first-team All-Pro honors, and Sanders was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.5. TE Shannon Sharpe, 2000, Baltimore Ravens.After winning back-to-back Super Bowl rings in Denver, Sharpe went to the Ravens and promptly won another. He had a 96-yard touchdown catch in the AFC championship game. In his two seasons in Baltimore, Sharpe broke tight end records for career catches, yards and touchdowns, all marks that were previously held by the man who signed him, ex-Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome. Sharpe was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.6. DB Charles Woodson, 2006 Green Bay Packers.Woodson was considered one of the biggest risks to hit the open market because he hadn’t played a full season in four years and only played in six games during his final season in Oakland. The Packers were his only suitors and he rewarded them with a career comeback that included NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2009 and a Super Bowl ring after the 2010 season.7. QB Kurt Warner, 2005, Arizona Cardinals.Not only did Warner go from grocery clerk to NFL MVP and Super Bowl champ while orchestrating the “Greatest Show on Turf” in St. Louis, he had another career comeback in him with the Cardinals. After starting 3-12 in Arizona and getting benched for Matt Leinart, he won back his starting job and led the Cardinals to an improbable appearance in Super Bowl 43, where they lost 27-23 to the Steelers. Enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2017.8. QB Rich Gannon, 1999, Oakland Raiders.Not much was expected of the 34-year-old journeyman when he joined a middling Raiders team and its young head coach, Jon Gruden. But Gannon flourished with his fourth NFL team, making four consecutive Pro Bowls, two All-Pro teams and three trips to the playoffs. He was the league’s MVP in 2002 at age 37 and led the Raiders to Super Bowl 37 against Tampa Bay.9. WR Jerry Rice, 2001 DeMario Davis Jersey Stitched , Oakland Raiders.Although he was in the twilight of his incredible career when crossed the bay at age 39, Rice posted two more 1,000-yard receiving seasons after leaving the 49ers, finishing with an NFL record 14 such years. The Raiders’ last taste of glory came with Rice. In 2001, they lost the infamous “Tuck Rule” game against Tom Brady and the Patriots, and a year later they made it to the Super Bowl, where they lost to Tampa Bay.10. K Adam Vinatieri, 2006 Indianapolis Colts.The only player to score 1,000 points with two franchises, Vinatieri won three Super Bowls in his decade in New England, then another in Indy. The 46-year-old kicker is the NFL’s oldest active player. Last season, he broke Morten Andersen’s league record for field goals made and now has 690. He’s the league’s all-time scoring leader with 2,600 points and his 32 career playoff games are second behind former teammate Tom Brady.10a. RB Curtis Martin, 1998, New York Jets.A special category for this one because Martin was a restricted free agent. In his second season as Jets coach, Bill Parcells stunned the NFL when he signed his former franchise running back in New England away from the Patriots with a $36 million deal, parting with first- and third-round draft picks. Martin helped the Jets reach the AFC championship in his first season in New York and won the NFL rushing title in 2004 at age 31. Enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2012.